Otso Diretso bet calls on Comelec to require attendance to CNN Philippines debate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 13) — After the Commission on Elections (Comelec) junked the Otso Diretso's request for it to officiate a debate between them and the administration-aligned Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), one of their candidates is calling on the poll body to require candidates to attend an upcoming debate hosted by CNN Philippines.

"Comelec, you're a partner of CNN, April 27, motu proprio. Exercise your powers to ask these candidates to attend or else," former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Gutoc told CNN Philippines' The Source on Wednesday.

Gutoc said the Comelec should no longer be concerned about resources for the senatorial debate as the TV network will be shouldering it.

The Comelec en banc rejected Otso Diretso's request for a debate against HNP as they said it will be equivalent to giving preferential treatment to some senatorial candidates and that it is "practically impossible" for the poll body to hold a meaningful debate involving all 62 Senate bets.

Comelec chair Sheriff Abas earlier told CNN Philippines' The Source that the poll body is unlikely to hold an official debate for the senatorial elections as they no longer have time and resources for it.

Abas, however, said they would support TV networks which would host their own debates.

Under the Fair Elections Act, it is only optional for the Comelec to require national television and radio networks to sponsor at least three national debates for presidential candidates and at least one national debate for vice presidential candidates.

CNN Philippines Multi-platform Writer Xave Gregorio contributed to this report.